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Remembering Saltergate: Pomegranate Reminiscences

8 May 2020

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Today marks the tenth anniversary of the final league fixture at Saltergate and on the morning of the match, hundreds of Spireites supporters packed the Pomegranate Theatre to reminisce...

Organised by Phil Tooley on behalf of the Chesterfield FC Community Trust, fans were treated to a couple of slide shows – rarely can photographs of toilets have brought about so many laughs – with appropriate music enhancing the memories.

Europe’s Final Countdown backed the first roll of pictures whilst Farewell by Blackheart played to more still memories.

Peter Whiteley gathered a whole host of moving pictures that were shown in three different sections. There was some rare film of 1930’s encounters with Aston Villa and Arsenal whilst games against Halifax Town, Liverpool and Manchester United from 1945 enthralled.

Historian Stuart Basson outlined the development of the ground from 1871 as well as telling some great tales such as the one about a rampaging bullock holding up play at The Rec!

Eighty-seven year old Albert ‘Des’ Collins, featured in the 1945 films, told us about the time skipper Georger Milburn grabbed manager Norman Bullock (no relation to the rampaging one) by the throat after a heavy defeat that featured the gaffer’s not very able brother in the team, which contributed to a lost win bonus!

Supporter since 1944 Alan Inns told of the great 1950 cup run and 50’s and 60’s player Keith Havenhand spoke about the club’s FA Youth Cup Final appearance against Bobby Charlton’s Manchester United in 1956.

John Duncan, Kevin Randall, Ernie Moss and Sean O’Neill entertained with their recollections, at least the ones they could remember! Rangers, Wembley and Wrexham featured prominently in their memories.

Bob Newton, Gareth Davies and Aaron Downes completed the line up of heroes as we heard about the 2004 Great Escape and the 2006 League Cup run amongst other cheer-jerking moments.

Both halves of the show ended with community singing led by Ffion and Ieuan Jones, We Can Build Our Dreams was rarely sung with so many memory banks being dredged.

Just about everyone then trekked to Rykneld Square for the Parade Through Town, led by Holymoorside Brass band and the Spirettes, what a thing that was with well over a thousand fans cheered on from the pavements and shop fronts as we all walked, for the last time, to Saltergate to see some football.

*Thanks to Phil Tooley who providing this article, which originally appeared soon after the event. The photograph is from 1900.

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